March 16, 2017

last season’s leaves
chiming in overhead
we trade winter sighs


March 15, 2017

snow emergency
no one awake to share these
tiny footprints with



March 14, 2017

ice flinging itself
at our windows all morning
somehow the glass holds


March 13, 2017

First Day School
we learn about the sound
porcupines make



Today's little haiku has a lot of background!

About "First Day School":
Quakers were at one time known for their adherence to a testimony involving plainness of speech. This kind of speech, which included omitting honorific addresses in favor of forms of address that stressed the equality of all persons, was part of Quakers' witness of the importance of simplicity. Similarly, Quakers in those earlier times would sometimes refer to the days of the week in plain speech, which led to Sundays being called "first day," Mondays "second day," etc. etc. Most of these customs have faded out as Quakers are no longer quite as intent on separating themselves through speech choices in order to accentuate their differences. There are still some echoes of those early customs in our present-day experiences, though. Religious education classes for members and attenders of a Quaker meeting are sometimes still termed "First Day School" (rather than Sunday School); indeed, this is the case at Princeton Monthly Meeting, which is my home meeting and the site of today's haiku.

About the sound a porcupine makes:
When I was growing up, there was a day when my mother looked out the living room window and saw that there was a cat stuck up near the top of our crabapple tree. Except that when she sent my father out to investigate, he discovered that it was a porcupine! We called the local animal rescue crew, who said that the porcupine had probably wandered down from the undeveloped woods at the top of our neighborhood. They brought protective gloves and carefully took the porcupine down out of the tree. Of course my sister and I stood as close as they would let us, which meant that we got to hear the porcupine as they wrapped it up in a blanket before returning it to the forest. The best description I've come up with is that the porcupine sounded like a tiny little old man who had assigned himself the task of counting to 100, but who had forgotten what comes after 99. So, something like... "ninety-nine...   ninety-nine?.... ninety-nine..."

In First Day School at Princeton Friends Meeting this week we were singing a song that had animal sounds in it, so I got to tell the kids this story.

March 12, 2017

Close up photo of a forsythia branch with two flowers in bloom. Photo by Karen Rice on Flickr

despite early voting
by the forsythia
snow in the forecast

March 11, 2017

insurance against
the futures I’m afraid of
my bright yellow kitchen


March 10, 2017




after the birth
still so much we don’t know
snow melting away


March 09, 2017

waxing half moon
the answer to some question
I’ve forgotten now


March 08, 2017

pipeline plans
dotted lines show us where
the people will stand


March 07, 2017

leafless branches
reaching up out of long habit
I drive past your house


(for Ann)

March 06, 2017

When do we want it?
Yesterday!
(making the old chant new)


Wanna play?

Photo: Junie, a duck-tolling retriever friend of mine, with ball in mouth

Wanna play?

Friends, my #haikuversary is coming up on Friday, March 17th!

I hereby invite you to join me in celebrating the art of haiku.

Here are some ways that you might decide to join in the fun. (Put whatever you decide to share either here in the comments or over on Twitter, where I am @butwait.)

  • Poke around in the archives, find a favorite, and share it! Bonus points if you tell me why you like it. (But sometimes it's hard to say why, so no pressure.)
  • Find a photo that you think pairs well with one of my haiku, and either tell me about it or create a haiga (image + haiku, e.g. this one)!
  • Pick a date that is meaningful to you and let me share a haiku I wrote on that date. Bonus points if you tell me why the date is significant to you.
  • Send me a word that you'd like to see me try to incorporate into a haiku (no promises!)
  • Tell me about a moment that seemed "haiku-worthy" to you, but that you haven't quite managed to capture in the way you were hoping to
  • Share a haiku of your own! (And don't focus too much on the whole 5-7-5 thing.)
  • Tell me about your haiku reading practice! Do you come here and read mine, or do you only read them on Twitter? Who else writes haiku that you enjoy?
  • Got any other ideas? Last year at least one friend wrote a haiku in response to one of mine, which was lovely and thrilling.
Thank you for considering putting some time and energy into making what is sure to be an already excellent day even sweeter!

March 05, 2017

March 04, 2017

at my first March
holding a girl’s hand
to feel the future


March 03, 2017

resist and persist
meltwater and birdsong
read me that again

(HT @MsPackyetti)

March 02, 2017

the space at the base
of the weeping cherry tree
not yet a refuge


March 01, 2017

circling again
somehow still not cleared to land
airport seagulls